Haircut

I donated my hair last year. Here’s what I thought about it before and after.

Short hair

Before:

    • Donating hair is great and for a good cause. I should do it while I can (as in before my hair turns gray.)
    • It’s easy. I only need to find a participating hair salon that will cut it and send it en masse with other peoples’ donated tresses.
    • Not sure how I feel about short hair. I always have it long enough to tie back at least.
    • I will do this again and again!

After:

  • Donating hair is meh, whatevers. They’ll probably just chuck it anyway (I’ve read that it happens a lot.)
  • It’s a pain in the ass I have to mail in my hair. No salons participate because bullet above.
  • Not being able to tie it up is a minor inconvenience and it’s more effort to tame the bedhead. Other than that I LOVE SHORT HAIR! I feel more stylish.
  • I am undecided about doing this again.  Leaning probably not.

Groundhog Again

This blog is eleven. Today was freezing cold and windy. Temperatures in the low 20s with the wind making it feel even colder. I don’t need no stinkin’ rodent to tell me it’s winter until it’s spring. Though that’s exactly what he said. Six more weeks of winter. I’m glad about it though. Maybe if I dance hard enough, we’ll get a proper snow.

Stretch Goals

I didn’t really set out to have a 2018 resolution, I sort of settled into it.
I got bronchitis two times within the course of three weeks in late December-early January. Just as I was getting over the first run and slowly easing back to the gym, I got knocked down by the second round. That time, I decided to give myself more time to recover and spent a lot of time on the couch watching YouTube and TV shows. I am good at convalescing. Anyway, as I started feeling better, I also got more restless and started just doing easy stretches while watching TV. It felt really good so I’m going to keep doing it. So that’s the “resolution” if it is one at all. Stretch and foam roll more regularly because it feels good. Oh and no more leggings!

Micro Plastics

While I’m on the topic of plastic clothing, I wanted to share something new I learned this weekend. And that is that every time we wash plastic clothing, some of the fibers slough off and end up in our oceans. So cold wash, gentle cycle helps minimize that as does washing the clothes less frequently (makes them last longer too). There’s also a product called GuppyFriend that Patagonia sells ($30) that supposedly catches 99% of the fibers. I don’t have one yet. At any rate, that bit of news killed my activewear shopping rampage. What a bummer.

Before this whole social-media-induced-fitspo-athleisure-wear-that-resurrected-polyester-from-the-80s thing took off, cotton was my workout fabric preference anyway. Who cares if it showed sweat. I’m exercising!! That’s what happens. But then everything became leggings and sweat wicking technology and dri-whatever, which does feel nice. On the other hand, I had always had this thought that plastic on my skin mixed with heat, sweat, and open pores seemed like a bit of a toxic bath. So all this is to say I’m not tossing any of my leggings that I just bought these past few months, but I’m hopping off this bandwagon for now. It was a fun ride. I’ll give the GuppyFriend a try and reassess.

For all those still on board (I don’t blame you! Leggin’s for miles!), I found this company that makes high quality leggings using recycled plastic bottles. Girlfriend Collective. Actually, their site is where I learned about microfiber plastics. Otherwise I was about ready to buy another last pair of leggings!

Ok, for real this time. This is the last pair!

Sometime last year I enthusiastically jumped on the leggings activewear bandwagon. And I have been on a shopping rampage ever since. There’s the capri, the full length, ankle length, high-waisted, solid, patterned, nylon, polyester, seamless on and ON!

By now, I have racked up enough pairs that I can’t even go through them all in a week despite my best efforts to exercise on a semi-consistent schedule. I’m gonna stop though. Seriously. After this next pair that’s arriving from Amazon, I’m fer reals gonna stop. This is the last pair! I can’t keep buying leggings! There’s no room for them! I’ve already dedicated an entire dresser drawer to activewear and they only fit in there because I keep 80% of my workout clothes at work. So I’m a bit late in the resolutions game, but hey we’re still in January (this month is draggin’), and if I have a new year’s resolution, it’s to try to reign in my passionate love affair with plastic clothing.

    However! Since I’ve been racking up experience with leggings, here’s my general thoughts and opinions about them.

  1. Nylon (as opposed to polyester) can be riskier with being see-through (a.k.a – not squat-proof, as in every time you squat, your underpants show)
  2. Dark colored leggings aren’t as fun but if you’re self-conscious in a class, they blend into the crowd. Also they won’t show sweat. Also, you can wear the black ones under a nice tunic and they can double as work-wear.
  3. Patterned leggings hide VPL the best. The busier the better.
  4. A crotch gusset is preferred. I think it helps minimize camel-toe.
  5. Light colored leggings, though pretty, are the most unforgiving in terms of showing imperfections, like VPL and being less squat-proof. I’m not brave enough to sport no-pattern light-colored leggings.
  6. High-waisted leggings hold in the belly better. It can handle a burrito baby, no problem! I’m a fan of high-waisted pants. Mom jeans all the way.
  7. Full length leggings are more versatile year-round. They’re good to have in the winter and they are generally breathable enough to be worn in the summer too. So I’ve been leaning towards full- or ankle-lengths. Capris are still easier in the summer though.
  8. US-made leggings aren’t always the highest quality. Unfortunately. For example, I got a pair of US-made leggings (Phat Buddha) and they pilled after the first wash. I still wear them and they’re very comfortable (seamless), but it speaks to the quality of them. I’m seeing a lot of high-end activewear coming out of Vietnam and other Asian countries.
  9. How I Care for my plastic clothes: Wash minimally. I wear my items a number of times before I wash them and when I do, it’s in cold water, gentle cycle. Hang to dry. This makes them last longer.

There’s nothing like putting on a nice workout outfit to get in the mood to exercise. Even if I’m just doing it in my living room.

“Rice”

Just about the weirdest allergy I have is rice. I’ve eaten it all my life and will continue to eat it. Even though it’s like giving milk to a lactose intolerant. I call it jet fuel. Not sure about the people around me, but mostly I don’t mind it. I’m so used to it because I’ve been eating it all my life and dealing with the consequences. In fact, I thought everyone bloated after eating. But now that I know the cause I do try to limit it. Granted when I’m traveling and Chinese is the only option I have, well, let’s just say I could start a forest fire with my ass.

That’s the long way of saying this is how I came up with my new “rice” which is quinoa, cauliflower, lentils, and oatmeal. It cooks up like a gloopy blob of “rice” and I can have it with just about anything I would have with rice.

Pickled Onions

I have been making this regularly for the past few months. It makes an easy vegetable side dish that goes with everything savory. Noodles, rice, tofu, avocado toast.

Chop up a bag of red onions.
pickled onions

Boil salt, sugar and water. Let it cool. Add apple cider vinegar to the brine. Pour it over the sliced onions. Refrigerate for a couple of days and it’s ready to eat. I keep two jars going all the time. The brine is re-useable, but I top off with more brine each time because I use the brine in salad dressings and for avocado toast.

If I had to guess amounts, maybe 2 tablespoons of sea salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 3 cups of water. And a half cup of ACV. I could be totally off here. Just experiment.

TSwizzle’s Launchpad

It’s not like I HAD to go to Nashville to be in the solar eclipse’s path of totality.  But that the path drifted through Nashville was a sign I wasn’t about to ignore. And lo, it happened. She started announcing her new album on eclipse day. We are kindred spirits.  We understand each other.
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Nashville, though it be what I consider to be deep south, is not at all how I imagined deep south to be (gun totin’ bible thumpin’, secessionists).  I was wrong.  Nashville is retirement-worthy, an honor I don’t hand out easily; it follows Hawaii.

It is a trendy place.  Fancy.  Gentrified.  What was that word some real estate articles like to throw around?  Tony?  Yeah, Nashville is a tony town. The people are glamorous.  It felt wealthy.  Coming home after hanging out in Berkeley or NYC makes me feel like our hood is so nice and clean. But after Nashville, I felt like I was coming home to a dump.  Isn’t it odd, the higher the cost of living, the dumpier the place? Something for me to keep in mind for the future. Maybe it’s the rising tide effect. Wealthier places have a higher gini coefficient probably.

Also, Nashville is hands down a better food city than DC.  We dined twice at Little Octopus where they served the most creative dishes.

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This is a cucumber watermelon salad made with chili, lime, peanuts, and mint. We came here two nights in a row.

Another delicious place we stumbled on is The Grilled Cheeserie.
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Tomato soup, grilled cheeses, and tater tots. All of this is plant-based! So addictively delicious!

And if you’re into music, you’re surrounded. We didn’t even have to try to see a show. One night, we stopped by a bar after dinner and they had a jazz/bluesy singer performing.
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Another night, we walked through Broadway and there were live shows all up and down the street. They all sounded record-contract worthy to me. I have even more respect for her skills after seeing Nashville. That TS was plucked from all of these gifted artists speaks to her level of talent. She’s the real deal.

So I wanted to walk where she probably has walked many times over.
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To her collaborating song-writer, Liz Rose’s studio on Music Row (which looks like a street of single family homes). They wrote Teardrops On My Guitar, Fearless, You Belong With Me, and All Too Well together, amongst others.

And of course, her own record label’s office, just a few doors down.
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Big Machine Records. Totally unmarked, it looked like somebody’s home so, feeling intrusive and rude for loitering about, I quickly took a picture and left. Being there made my heart flutter.

But we weren’t done fluttering my heart.
This is the Adelicia.
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Unless she’s since sold it, this was the first place she bought and the first night she spent alone in her own place inspired the song Never Grow Up.

The real star of the show for this trip was our star though. The sun! (Sorry, that was cheezy)
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Not a good picture of the total eclipse, but this was a photo of it. Experiencing it was awesome, in the truest meaning of the word. It was humbling. And for a split second before we had to put our eclipse sunglasses back on, the diamond ring was the most beautiful part of the show.
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These are crescent-shaped shadows cast from the trees when the moon was starting to uncover the sun.

reputation

Ok, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard or at least heard of Look What You Made Me Do, Taylor Swift’s newly released single from her sixth album, Reputation.

I have been waiting for this album for a year!  She had been on a two year album cycle for her past five albums.  Since 1989 came out in 2014, I thought 2016 was for sure going to give us another album.  But it was crickets so I’ve been anticipating something this year.  And finally!!!

The first time I heard it, I was shook.  Pardon for using that term.  But it fits.  I didn’t know how to eat it.  It wasn’t like any other TS I’ve heard.  It’s dark.  It’s petty.  It’s an old narrative.  But I’ve since gobbled it up and I’m ready for more.  And I’ve now seen the music video a hundred times and even when I’m not listening to it, it’s in my head all day long.  I think the video really helps me understand the song better.  It’s meta.  She’s addressing the old story regarding past feuds, but also making fun of it.  It’s clever, it’s funny, it’s self-deprecating.  It’s new Taylor, but it’s also the same savvy Taylor.  I love it!